Oranssi Pazuzu: Valonielu

Finnish psychonauts trip the light fantastic

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Third full-length for these Finns who have been bending minds since 2009 with their distinctive strain of kaleidoscopic, psychedelic black metal.

Less frantic and restlessly experimental than 2011’s brilliant Kosmonument, Valonielu is scrupulously pared back rhythmically; simple direct riffs are built for heavy repetition, the trance-like rumble of fuzzy sludgy chords acting as canvas for a panoply of retro-futuristic electronic synth squelches.

t’s a singular album that brings to mind the BBC Radiophonic Workshop as well as Immortal, Pan Sonic and Beherit, and when fully immersed Oranssi Pazuzu’s suspenseful, high-tension dynamic becomes explosive, as towards the end of Uraanisula when the listener is jolted from a hypnotic, 70s Tomorrowland groove into urgent, kinetic fury, or on 15-minute closer Ympyrä On Viiva Tomussa when imperial, droning chords burst out of a hushed hippie-jam intro.

Even on the shoegazey post-punk Tyhjä Temppeli, frostbitten rasps anchor this compelling album in a recognisably BM universe, albeit one that’s had its third eye resoundingly squeegeed.

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.